I will try not to take you back to the world of painful, angry negotiations. Instead, I’ll say that a shortened season is happening based on an agreement from March, and although that agreement did not included expanded playoffs this year, the players and the league left open the possibility that they might put together a side deal on the playoffs.
To that end, just one day before tomorrow night’s league-wide opener, the sides are apparently trying to cram together a deal for an expanded postseason? OK:
Sources: MLB and union are re-engaging on the possibility of expanded playoffs for this season. Has to be done before first pitch 25 hours from now, but there seems to be optimism. Hope was to go from 10 playoff teams to 16.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 22, 2020
Hey, maybe they’ve actually been working on this for a while, and managed to keep it quiet for the first time in ever …
To be sure, there are plenty of incentives on all sides to get a deal done. Not only does an expanded postseason create more revenue out of thin air that can be shared among the players and the owners, but it also makes the shortened season all the more exciting with more teams in the mix for a postseason spot for almost the entire season.
If a beefed up postseason happens (I’m fine with 16 for this year, but would prefer only 14 for the years thereafter), you’d see additional Wild Card teams added to the mix, and a reshaped structure of the postseason (which would depend on how many additional teams there are). The idea would be to create not only additional spots for “playoff” teams, but also to create more “winner-take-all” games, be they in the form of more one-game events, or hyper-short series.
I’ll leave the speculating on structure to you folks in the comments, because for now, I don’t want to rush into thinking these sides can get ANYTHING done, even if it is mutually beneficial, in a 24-hour turnaround time.
If a deal doesn’t get done, then the postseason – with 10 teams – will proceed as you’ve come to know.